Yesterday I cried. Just a little. I could feel my throat tightening, and little salty pools building in the corners of my eyes threatening to spill over as I clapped my hands. I teetered on the edge of an air sucking, snot inducing sob. No one noticed because everyone around me swayed and cheered and fist pumped the air. Fat tears rolled down my cheeks as I wiped them away with my pinky. There was no point trying to explain to anyone why I was crying, because really, who could hear my words at a Queen concert?
To clarify, I am talking about the year 2014, and the original band members of Queen minus one, flamboyant musical genius – Freddie Mercury. On this tour, Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) is replaced by Adam Lambert of American Idol fame, but this isn’t what made me cry.
I used to listen to Queen with my dad. Actually, my dad played Queen on the stereo and everyone in the house could hear it, I guess by default we all listened. We also sang and danced in our under-furnished living room while my dad blasted disco, glam-rock or folky sounds of the latest hits. My dad was not a rule follower and perhaps like Freddie, he had a pile of creative style and imagination that needed an outlet. One famous guy, one not-so-famous guy; both creative and both passing away in their early forties.
Freddie Mercury possessed uninhibited creativity and unrelenting passion; he brushed off limitations and expected more. When you expect more your vision is bigger than what most people can imagine. It means your ideas are not average or normal. It means you are more comfortable outside the lines than you are in; and it means you would rather try and fail than never try at all. For people who expect more, the adage but this is how we’ve always done it, makes their soul ache. The passion crushing scourge of mediocrity feels like a weight pressing down on their chest and while my dad wasn’t Freddie, he was the kind of guy that inspired you to live a little more, listen bigger and challenge the way, it has always been done.
Before the concert, I sent my manuscript, A Slice of Happy off to be printed. It was an uneventful act of saving, uploading and then hitting send. Two years of my life in a file smaller than a photograph. During the last song of the concert, they showed Freddie singing on a clip from a previously recorded performance. Every person in the arena was touched by the memory of his talent and passion for what he did. Looking at Freddie so alive on the big screen and thinking about my dad dancing in the living room reminded me that life can be short. It reminded me to keep striving; to keep being creative and to keep hitting send.
Those fat tears jammed into one another and made a shiny line down my face because I did it. I finished writing a book that may be good or crappy, but it doesn’t matter because I finished it. We all have a little Freddie in us and holding a newly minted book in your hands or playing Bohemian Rhaspody to 70 000 thousand people at Wembley Stadium is what happens when you step outside of expectation. We all have a creative spirit that needs to be expressed; I say let it out, sing, write, dance, design; do whatever it takes to step past the resistance that so desperately wants you to stay where you are. I challenge you to poke your head out of the box of expectation, take a deep breath and see how it feels; something glorious might just break free.